As a reminder, this Philadunkia question and answer series is “loosely based” on ESPN.com’s highly successful, NBA related series of posts titled “5on5″. Our version of this genre of posts will ask 4 Philadunkia scribes to answer 4 topical, hot button questions about our Philadelphia 76ers.
Now you’re probably asking, “Why not simply stick with the “5on5″ format that ESPN.com uses?”
Well as any great hoops coach will tell you — playing 4on4 is the best way to truly learn the game of basketball.
After the jump, Philadunkia scribes C. Smith, Michael Kaskey-Blomain, Jeff McMenamin and Tyler Cook will examine four questions surrounding our 76ers this time with a focus on the 2015 Final Four.
1. If Brett Brown stepped down tomorrow and you had to replace him we either Coach K or Bo Ryan, who would you pick and why?
Smith: Coach K and it’s not even close. I understand that Ryan is a local guy and I have a tremendous amount of respect for his coaching abilities. However his mind set (see “rent” a player comments) and people skills are much better suited for the college game. Coach K has proven that he knows how to handle superstars, his “pro set” schemes are significantly more applicable to the League, he has shown he can adapt to the talent around him and thanks to his time with USA Basketball, he has significant experience working with NBA players.
Kaskey-Blomain: Without question Coach K. Bo Ryan is a good coach, but Coach K’s accomplishments are unparalleled. He is able to adapt his game plan on the go and he has an uncanny ability to relate to his players. Never have you heard one of his former players say anything slightly negative about Coach K. Also, he has demonstrated that he can win at the highest level, with the world’s best talent at the Olympics; his ability as a coach is not limited to the collegiate level.
McMenamin: Bo Ryan all the way baby! He’s a Chester product, he complains about refs and if he’s able to find that much success with the group of white guys he assembled, just imagine what he can do with NBA-level talent. I think Ryan controls a locker room well and, with total respect to Coach K’s 1,000+ wins and experience coaching Team USA, Ryan does a really good job of developing players, something Sixers ownership values very highly.
Cook: If Brett Brown was to step down today as the Sixers head coach, I think the choice between Coach K and Bo Ryan is a simple one. Coach K is the clear decision. Coach K has all the coaching experience desired since beginning his coaching career at West Point in 1975. Since then he has added a number of impressive tacks to his resume, including five national championships (most recent one came last night in Duke’s win over Wisconsin 68-63) and being the head coach of the USA men’s national basketball team. Coach K has shown that he can win at every level of basketball he coaches, whether it be 18 year-old freshmen coming into Dukes program or NBA superstars like LeBron James and Kevin Durant playing for team USA. Coach K would be an obvious pick for the Sixers over a talented coach nonetheless in Bo Ryan.
2. If you could have your pick of any player from the Final Four to magically plug into the Sixers roster for 2015-16, who would you select?
Smith: In this “magical” scenario, I am going to assume that Hinkie has enough smarts to select a point guard with the Sixers own lottery pick (projected No. 3). So I would go with Duke’s Jhalil Okafor because he’s a dominating big who can score and rebound. Right now you’re saying, ‘But we already have Noel and Embiid!’
While I agree that magically plugging Okafor into the current Sixers roster could create a repetitive parts scenario, I believe he’s the most NBA ready player in this Draft and IMO he also owns the highest upside. For me, that unique combo makes him too much of a talent to pass up on. Brett Brown and I will figure out the rest later. Lastly, Okafor give me an insurance policy in the event that Embiid turns out to be Sam Bowie 2.0.
Kaskey-Blomain: My pick here would probably be Justise Winslow. Although Karl Towns may be the most talented/ready to make an impact, I’m looking at fit here. With Noel and Embiid already in toe, the Sixers’ front court is pretty full. The team needs some perimeter production, and Winslow looks like he could develop into a solid perimeter player at the next level. At 6’6” he has solid size, elite athleticism, and a solid shot. He could fit alongside a point, and the front court players.
McMenamin: I’m going with Justise Winslow. Up until the national title game, Winslow had been on a tear in the tournament averaging 17.2 points and nine rebounds in four games. What impressed me the most was his ability to both get to the free-throw line and knock down free-throws. He’d be a perfect wing-scorer addition for the offensively-challenged Sixers.
Cook: The Sixers obviously have the center position pretty much filled with Nerlens Noel and Joel Embiid so the need for a dynamic center like Jahlil Okafor and Karl-Anthony Towns seems to be on the back burner for the Sixers. I think the Sixers, since losing MCW could use an effective point guard and floor general. I was really impressed with Tyus Jones performance during the tournament this year. Jones has excellent handles and is lethal when taking shots at a distance as seen last night when Jones hit a clutch three point shot with time dwindling in the second half that pretty much sealed up a Duke championship win over the Wisconsin Badgers. Not to mention Jones is automatic from the charity stripe. I think Jones would plug in well to an NBA team. What else is there left for him to do? He already has a National Championship ring as a freshman.
3. Is there a player from the Final 4 that jumped out at you as a prospect the Sixers should heavily consider selecting with one of their potential “bonus” 1st round picks that could fall between No. 6 (potential pick via Lakers) and No. 18 (potential pick via OKC)?
Smith: If he leaves Duke early I really like Justise Winslow for the Sixers in the middle to late Lottery section of the 1st Round. If Winslow falls all the way to No. 18, then Hinkie should not hesitate to select this kid. He’s a skilled, 6’6 athlete who owns the nasty attitude and the intensity that I feel the 76ers’ current roster is lacking. Admittedly his offensive skills are still developing, but I just loved the way he has a nose for the ball, can rebound at both ends and plays solid man-to-man defense.
Kaskey-Blomain: Winslow fits the bill here also. His athleticism and ability to score the ball make me think that he might be a good fit on the rebuilding Sixers. While he wouldn’t be my first selection for the squad, the Sixers could do worse than Winslow with one of their really picks.
McMenamin: Speaking of the picks, the Sixers only have one pick which currently translates in the upcoming draft! In that case I wouldn’t want the Sixers to go after any of the talent from the Final 4 in the upcoming draft, with kind regards to Karl-Anthony Towns and Jahlil Okafor. If the Sixers do end up with a later pick, I think Wisconsin’s Sam Dekker or Kentucky’s Devin Booker could fit into a role which the Sixers don’t have at the moment.
Dekker has a Gordon Hayward-like swagger to his game and he’s very fundamentally sound. He scores inside and outside and could plug into either forward spots (we all know Sam Hinkie is in love with versatile players). Booker is more of a three-point specialist at the shooting guard spot. He’s also a very capable defender, which was a problem area for the team at that position this season. Outside of Willie Cauley-Stein or Justise Winslow doing a free-fall outside of the Top 10, I think these two would fit in the best if a later first-rounder does indeed end up falling to the Sixers.
Cook: I think it would be in the Sixers best interest on draft night to consider Dukes SF Justise Winslow. Currently Bleacher Reports 2015 NBA mock draft has him going at No. 7 to the Detroit Pistons. He has been excellent this year for the Blue Devils. He brings a sense of physicality and determination every time he steps on the court. Winslow averaged 12 points a game for Duke this season and saw a lot of playing time this season, playing about 30 minutes a game. Even more impressive is the way he attacks the glass, scrapping about 7 rebounds a game this season. I think Winslow can do it all. He plays solid defense and switches of picks well. He is dynamic on both sides of the ball with lock down defense and hitting about 50% of his shots in the 2014-2015 season. The Sixers could use a guy like Winslow who seems to bring it every night. If he is available I think it would be a good addition in Philadelphia.
4. Who gets a championship ring first, Bo Ryan or the 76ers?
Smith: The 76ers get a ‘chip first. Again, I have the ultimate respect for the things Bo Ryan has accomplished at Wisconsin, but over the last two years he used a very special group of upper classmen, complimented by one or two frosh/sophs to make a run to the Final Four (2014) and then the NCAA title game (2015). That type of tremendous streak/luck/recruiting doesn’t come along very often for non-blue blood programs like Wisconsin. Thus, I believe it will be a good number of years before Bo Ryan assembles another roster capable of reaching the Final Four.
Kaskey-Blomain: The 76ers (hopefully).
McMenamin: I’m all-in on Sam Hinkie’s plan, even if the Sixers end up with just one first-rounder out of a possible four in the upcoming 2015 NBA draft. I think Joel Embiid is going to be a stud and I’m hoping the Sixers end up taking point guard D’Angelo Russell in the draft. That leaves the Sixers with just a few holes left on the roster and a ton of money in free-agency to work with. If everything goes to plan the Sixers will be competing for an NBA title in the next five years and I believe there might just be a window for the team to win one. Sorry Bo, Wisconsin is and always will be a football school.
Cook: With the season that the Wisconsin Badgers had this year I think its safe to say that Bo Ryan has churned a lot of attention to young players who plan on playing at the next level. Ryan is running one heck of a program up there in frigid Madison and players are now putting Wisconsin in their school choices along with the Kentucky’s, the Duke’s, and the Michigan States. All who have excellent and historic coaches by the way. I think the Sixers time will come as long as the front office makes the right decisions in the off seasons to come but as for now Wisconsin and Ryan are catching the eyes of young talent who want to cut down nets and win rings. Ryan gets the championship ring first, but its only a short amount of time until the Wells Fargo Center is rocking again for Philly basketball.
Jeff McMenamin is a scribe for Philadunkia. You can follow him on Twitter @Sixersblog.
Michael Kaskey-Blomain is a scribe for Philadunkia. You can follow him on Twitter @therealmikeKB.
Tyler Cook is a scribe for Philadunkia. You can follow him on Twitter @ .
C. Smith is the Editor of Philadunkia.com. You can follow us on Twitter @philadunkia.